On cue - and as expected - America's two largest cable companies, Time Warner and Comcast Communications, have filed a joint bid for the nation's fifth largest operator Adelphia Communications, currently languishing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Their offer for one hundred percent of the insolvent company is reportedly in the $17 billion (€13.06bn; £9.05bn) ballpark.

There is just one other bidder for Adelphia in its entirety - another duo comprising the original 'Barbarian at the Gate', Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, with fellow US private equity group Providence Equity Partners.

Word from the Adelphia bunker is that other bidders are thick on the ground, all jousting for individual segments of Adelphia. They include unnamed buyout groups and 'cable entrepreneurs' - a term often used by the media as shorthand for Liberty Media's John Malone.

However, the smart money is on the TW-Comcast combo, not least because it would reap the most benefit from economies of scale and key market expansion.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff